Marriott Rewarding Vaccinated Employees

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott is giving employees an interesting incentive to get vaccinated.

Marriott will pay employees to get vaccinated

It has been announced that Marriott has created the Vaccination Care Program, which will provide financial rewards to associates at managed properties in the United States and Canada. With this, Marriott employees will receive the equivalent of four hours of pay upon getting vaccinated.

Marriott states that it supports global vaccination efforts. The company is also providing education on the benefits of the vaccination and directing hotel management to allow for schedule flexibility for vaccination appointments. Marriott is strongly encouraging associates to get vaccinated, but isn’t making it mandatory for now.

As David Rodriguez, Marriott’s Global Chief Human Resources Officer, describes this move:

“The health and safety of our people is our top priority. Our goal for the Vaccination Care Program is to remove potential obstacles to getting vaccinated so our associates can put their health first and have peace of mind. Marriott International is confident that vaccination is a key measure, along with mask wearing, social distancing and stepped-up cleanliness protocols and hygiene practices in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

As vaccines become more widely available, this will create a safer environment for all associates, and we believe that consumer confidence to travel again will increase significantly and help the rebound of the travel and tourism sector. We appreciate the support from our managed hotel owners, and encourage the industry and our franchisees to offer flexibility and incentives to their associates as a vital step in our industry’s recovery.”

This is well thought out on Marriott’s part

It’s not very often that Marriott is innovative, but I have to give the hotel group credit here, as I think this concept is really well thought out. We’ve seen a lot of travel brands talk about the importance of vaccination, but we haven’t seen them create incentives to get vaccinated.

For example, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has stated that he would like vaccination to be mandatory for all employees. He explained that in order for that to happen other companies would have to take a similar stance, or else United wouldn’t be able to “get away” with it.

I think Marriott is taking exactly the right approach here — the company is giving employees an incentive to get vaccinated, and is encouraging properties to be flexible with employee hours so that this can easily be facilitated.

While we may eventually see companies make vaccination mandatory, this is the right solution for now, in my opinion.

Ultimately employees in the travel industry getting vaccinated is important — it’s not just about keeping them safe, but also about keeping guests safe, given that most early studies suggest that vaccinated people are less likely to spread coronavirus as well.

Looking at other parts of the travel industry, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways recently became the first major airline to vaccinate all pilots and cabin crew. The company didn’t make it mandatory, but rather stated that those who choose not to get vaccinated won’t be entitled to sick leave or health insurance benefits through the company, should they get coronavirus.

Bottom line

Marriott is incentivizing hotel employees in the US and Canada to get vaccinated, with the company offering four hours of pay as a reward. While that pay won’t be life changing, it’s a nice gesture, and it’s more than we’ve seen from other travel brands at this point.

Some point down the road we can talk about whether or not vaccination should be mandatory for employees, but at this point that conversation doesn’t seem constructive, given that vaccines aren’t even available to everyone at this point, we don’t know what the situation will look like months down the road, and because that discussion inevitably becomes way too political.

What do you make of Marriott’s vaccination incentive?

  1. At what point should we consider whether businesses are incentivizing their employees because they want it to be done fast vs a fear that employees don’t want the vaccine and feel this is the only way to get people to do it?

    I am not trying to propagate a conspiracy theory, I just struggle with the fact that over my career employers have only ever incentivized behavior that is in their best interest. Sometimes this interest aligns with the employees, but it is never a 100% alignment.

    For what it is worth, I think anyone who wants the vaccine should get it. However, I also wonder how much of the demand is because people want to say ‘the right thing’ vs there being an actual intent.

  2. @Grounded Road Warrior Are you really struggling to discern why a company whose industry is hospitality would incentivize getting a vaccine for its employees?

    The prevailing facts from science show that people in any sort of hospitality or people facing role should get the vaccine not only for the safety of the worker who are exposed to a lot of people often in close proximity but just as much to potentially lower spread from people who have to interact with a lot of people throughout the course of a day.

    Of course there is a benefit to Marriott. They can go “we have vaccinated workers so the chance of our workers spreading coronavirus to you is low!” At the same time the workers themselves can be safer if they are exposed.

  3. I love the policy but have a hard time wrapping my head around the fairness of it. My diabetic/elderly/minority coworker shouldn’t have the opportunity for a bonus before I do. The pay should only be awarded once the vaccine is truly available for everyone.

  4. This means nothing because most hotels are not Marriott managed, which means most employees at most hotels are not Marriott employees. So this is actually little more than fake news

  5. @Ken – If a company feels the need to incentivize behavior, they must feel like there is a large enough batch of their employees that don’t want to do what is being incentivized. If every Marriott employee was clamoring for the jab, why would they pay them to get it…

    Based on your argument, I can see why Marriott would want to purchase shots directly from pharma and administer it themselves, so their employees can get it quicker. But it still raises the question as to why they feel they need to incentivize the behavior in the first place. If everyone wants it, than 3 weeks of pay is an enormous cost for no particular reason.

  6. This is completely inappropriate until at least one vaccine is fully approved. Covid vaccines are only autorisied for emergency use so far. Pressuring employees into taking them is wrong and I’m surprised it got through the lawyers.

    I’m happy to live in a country where it is completely unthinkable to have an employer ask for employee’s medical records without a very good reason. (And this would not count as a good reason.)

  7. As a Marriott fan, some of the changes to the loyalty program in the past couple years had me rethinking my loyalty.
    This move however, has restored some of my faith. Marriott is making forward-thinking moves that show industry leadership. It’ll be interesting to see if other hotel groups follow suit.

  8. @Sel, D.

    If you’re having trouble “wrapping your head around the fairness of it,” consider the fact that the people who are eligible for the vaccine before the general public are the ones who have had to live with the unfairness of being more vulnerable to the virus that’s been ravaging the globe for more than a year.

  9. @Lucky, at least one other travel brand is, in fact, compensating (not pressuring as some here are claiming) employees for vaccination: Amtrak.

    Employees are receiving 2 hours pay for the first dose, and 2 hours for the second, and are supposed to be receiving paid time off in order to actually receive the shots (although anecdotal reports suggest that some supervisors are not on board with official company policy here). Not sure how the compensation works for a single dose of the J&J vaccine.

  10. It’s not an INCENTIVE, it’s removing the DISINCENTIVE of losing a half-days pay to go wait in long lines or rush out to be in a lotto for leftover vaccines. It allows entry level employees to not worry about a short paycheck because they need to have a medical appointment. Some of you are talking like it’s hush money or a CEO bonus, while it’s just fiscal security for people who have vulnerable finances for over a year. I’m happy their doing it but wish they directed all franchises too as well.

  11. @Sel – don’t be a snowflake. If they get the equivalent of -$60-100 a month ahead of you, do you really feel permanently disadvantaged? SMH.

  12. @Grounded Road Warrior Hospitality employees largely being vaccinated alongside a general population that will also largely be vaccinated is not a matter of if, but when. Marriott’s incentive is clearly not some kind of scheme where they’re using pay in some kind of malevolent conspiracy to get people vaccinated against employee beliefs of some supposed dark side to being vaccinated. It is more so an incentive to get people who feel like they can take their time in getting the shot to go ahead and quickly find time to do it (even it if means taking a day off).

  13. @Sel, D. In many states (if not all) hospitality employees of any kind whether healthy or with some pre-existing illness are able to get vaccines. There’s no favoring of diabetic/elderly/minority coworkers.

  14. @Samo Vaccines have been open to hospitality employees in many, if not all, states for a while now. And no one is forcing anyone to get the vaccine or forcing anyone to hand over their medical records. This is simply an extra incentive for people who want to get the vaccine or were thinking about getting it. When they do, all they have to do is hand over a card that specifically documents their vaccinations. No other medical records need to be shared to communicate that a vaccine has been received.

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